What Is IIFYM (if it fits your macros) And Should You Try It?

Soooooo many diets out there and sooooo many people pushing them on new moms who are just trying to survive. First of all, back off people! New mamas are doing their best and need space to learn to be a mom and recover without anyone suggesting they hurry the heck up and get their pre-pregnancy body back. Moms are fundamentally changed once the baby is born (and it’s amazing) so trying to put us in that box of constant dieting B.S. just isn’t going to cut it anymore. Also, new moms are particularly raw, vulnerable and don’t need anyone suggesting they do anything other than tending to their needs and their babies. #endrant

Anyway, if you’re a mom who’s been on the dieting hamster wheel, or just curious about how to manage a healthy lifestyle without losing your mind, many people find this method of eating intriguing because of the flexibility it allows. As a former hamster wheeler, I can say that IIFYM did give me a deeper understanding of food than I had before. Instead of feeling guilt over certain foods that are ‘bad’ or things are constantly restricted I had the freedom to chose and that was amazing. When you take away barriers and labels it’s amazing what happens to your mind and the way you think about food. For anyone who’s struggled with food this approach can be really freeing (and some therapy if necessary-worked for me!)

But before jumping into something postpartum to ‘get your body back’ be mindful of what it is and how you need to approach it. Everyone is different and some people don’t even want to think about it while others find comfort in the discipline and routine of this. Just do what makes you happy at the time and focus on you.

Ok so all that being said, here’s what you need to know about IIFYM

The premise of flexible dieting or IIFYM (if it fits your macros)  is that you eat the right number of calories for you and in the right proportion of macronutrients. You calculate how much of the macronutrient categories you should be eating and then choose what to eat based on those targets. There are three macronutrients—protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Micronutrients, the vitamins and minerals in your whole foods (fruits, veggies, grains, lean meats etc) aren’t considered in this way of eating. From a health standpoint, you should consider micronutrients. But IIFYM offers flexibility for those who want to reach a certain goal like fat loss or muscle gain or even maintain their current physique while enjoying foods like pizza, burgers, oreos etc-foods typically considered bad on many diets.

Benefits

The benefit of following IIFYM is that it teaches you about food and portions. It blows a hole in the notion that you can only eat ‘good’ foods to get lean, or whatever your goal is. No food is inherently ‘bad’ and any food even ‘good’ foods will make you gain weight if you eat a surplus of calories for what your body needs. You can eat pizza every day if you want to, as long as you calculate the calories and macros and adjust the rest of your daily intake around it. For many people, this is very freeing. But since all foods contain macros you’ll need to work closely with a macro tracking app so you know you’re staying on track with your target food intake.

This is why flexible dieters typically use an online calculator or app to calculate macros, which takes into consideration your physique goals. Once you figure out what your macro targets are, you’ll need to start to track them so you can hit your daily goals. As with any diet, there are pros and cons. So let’s break those down.

IIFYM or flexible dieting is just that, flexible. All foods are ‘allowed’ as long as they fit into your macros ratio. But the reality is that logic also applies to the OG tried-and-true weight loss method: counting calories. Remember it’s possible (though not advised) for some folks to eat 1,500 calories in Twinkies® every day and still lose weight because that’s under their daily intake needed for fat loss. Is a Twinkie diet “healthy”? No, yet someone could potentially drop a few pounds (maybe even more). Though research suggests it may not be ideal to help you keep that lost weight off.

Pros and Cons
The biggest pro of this way of eating is that it allows for flexibility and people can maintain this for life. Whereas other diets are so strict that people often rebound to worse than they were before the started the diet. If you want to drop some pounds, learn more about food and get a good idea of how to ‘eyeball’ it and not totally hate life because of your restrictive diet, then IIFYM is worth trying.

Perhaps the biggest con or negative is that the core principles behind IIFYM is that it doesn’t automatically lead you to a healthy diet. For example, all carbohydrates are essentially equivalent—you’re counting grams of carbs so it doesn’t matter if you eat Oreos or whole grain brown rice and fiber-rich raspberries? You can adhere perfectly to the macro ratios while still eating junk (probably adding in some protein to hit that target…but anyway…)

You Still Should Eat Like You Give A Damn
That said, some IIFYM plans available encourage you to eat more whole, unprocessed foods and that typically means less junk, and fewer of those nutrients like sodium and sugar, which we should be limiting. This is my preferred approach because if you want to truly transform your body and health you need to eat good foods but not be so restricted you binge on junk regularly. That isn’t getting you anywhere.

There are many ways to determine your macro ratio and find what works best for your body and your current physical goals and activity level. You can adjust protein, fat and carb levels based on your body’s response. A big benefit is that you’re tracking what you eat and research shows this can make shedding fat more successful.

And You Still Should Be Consistent 
For anything to be successful, you have to stick to it. Research shows that weight loss studies that compare different diets find there is little to no difference in how much weight was lost in participants across different diet groups. So basically, if you’re in a caloric deficit and exercising for an extended period of time, you will lose weight. Many people get caught up in thinking there is only one way, or this diet is better and surely going to give them the results they seek. The fact is, it doesn’t matter what diet it is. You need to learn how to eat so you gain knowledge about what you are doing and how to maintain it.

Ok so let’s circle back to the question-should you try IIFYM? If it intrigues you, and you want to lose some weight or shave a few body fat percentage points, go for it because you’ll likely find success for above-mentioned reasons For the sake of your overall health (your heart, your blood sugar, your disease risk), take quality of food into consideration, too, and err more towards eating healthy foods to hit your macro targets. But just know that you can fit in the Oreos you’ve been craving without derailing your progress.

So if you’re out of the newborn fog and ready to start with some structure again, this wouldn’t be a terrible way to learn as you go.

Super Easy Vegan Fudge

When you get a craving but don’t want to go to the store it helps to have a few staples on hand. Whip these up in just a few minutes, put in the fridge, relax while they set, eat.

Does Your Butt Have Mom Brain?

Your butt (gluteal muscles) probably has mom brain– so here’s what you need to know. 

You know that weird foggy state that is usually surrounding the first few months of your child’s life. The fatigue and exhaustion are real. Recovering from birth while tending to every need of an infant who is 100% reliant on you while running on fragmented and little sleep makes you …well…tired and forgetful. The Muscle Moms philosophy of fitness is to carefully and strategically ease back in with appropriate exercises for each postpartum phase. During these early stages of life with newborn, gentle exercises are key. Studies show that a little exercise can lift moods and energize you so you can feel a bit more um..less tired.

Your glutes are a super important muscle group in your body. In fact, I’m starting to think the glutes (and entire posterior chain) are the most important muscle group in your body.

A strong backside makes for a strong body and helps with stability which is especially important as we age or if you’re pregnant or newly postpartum. But did you know that if you neglect to train your glutes they could ‘forget’ how to function properly and actually cause problems as a result? Yes, you could be suffering from gluteal amnesia.

The gluteal muscles help power us through so many activities, from walking and carrying heavy things, to performing both cardio and strength exercises, or adjusting to the physical demands of pregnancy with reduced pain and feeling more stable post birth. When your glutes lose strength, other muscle groups in your back and lower body are forced to take on the extra work to compensate, setting you up for issues such as lower back, hip, or knee pain and these imbalances could lead to injury. So if you want to avoid that, make sure each muscle group is pulling its’ own weight.

So, wtf is mom brain butt (gluteal amnesia)?

Gluteal amnesia is when your body forgets how to properly activate your glute muscles from either poor posture or lack of use.

Do you have it?

We’re so concerned with how much our brain can remember and do that we often forget about our body. Your body and your muscles have a memory, too! Your muscles will remember and respond to your activity. This works well for you if you have a balanced healthy lifestyle (healthy diet and exercise routine), but works against you if you are sedentary. If you spend a lot of time sitting, you could have gluteal amnesia.

What happens if you have gluteal amnesia?

You may lose the ability to move your hips through a full range of motion which adds stress to your knee, lower back, and even your shoulder joints and can lead to a preventable injury. The good news is you can reverse this condition with the right corrective exercises.

Your glute muscles include the gluteus maximus, gluteus minimus, and gluteus medius. Or main butt, middle butt, and upper butt, respectively. These muscles control movement of your hips and knees. The gluteus maximus is involved in hip extension and external rotation and has another very important job-assists in maintaining an upright torso (good posture) which is highly important for people of all ages. The problem is when we sit too long the glutes are inactive and basically become couch potatoes. Because of less than perfect posture most of us have when sitting–shoulders slumped, back rounded, core disengaged–we could go an entire day without activating the glutes. We all love a good Game of Thrones binge session, but maybe just do some body weight squats every so often.

When we are too sedentary the hip flexors become tighter which leads to inhibited glutes which means your body isn’t moving as it should, some muscles are accommodating for others and this could lead to injury.

Other causes of couch potato butt..er..I mean gluteal amnesia are:

  • Too many quadriceps dominant exercises. Add in some hamstring and glutes to round things out.
  • Poor sitting or standing posture
  • Tight hips or lower back
  • Knee or back pain which can lead to muscle imbalance

Simple ways to test for gluteal amnesia

  • Stand in a neutral position in front of a mirror while taking note of the position of your pelvis. If your pelvis seems to tilt forward, you may have anterior pelvic tilt which indicates your glutes are contracting properly.
  • Lie flat on your back on the floor with your hands under your butt. Squeeze each glute independently. You should be able to feel each muscle contract.
  • Feeling tightness in your hamstrings after you do a glute dominant exercises like deadlifts, pull-throughs or step-ups.

Exercises you should be doing to fix mom brain butt

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Bridges
  • Kickbacks
  • Plies
  • Deadlifts
  • Birddogs
  • Lateral steps
  • Donkey kicks

One key to keep in mind for all glute work: Focus on driving from your heels which helps fully activate your maximus, the biggest and strongest part of the butt. To take the intensity level up a notch and add some resistance for serious glute strength use a high-quality glute band. You can even do these exercises while on your lunch break, watching your shows or during the time your kid is happily playing by themselves.

And don’t forget about the foam roller! Rolling out your hip flexors and IT band (side of the leg) can help release the myofascial tissues that supportyour muscles and bones which can get knotted and painful.

Follow these steps to work your glutes 4-5 times per week and in about a month you will notice a change in how your muscles feel.

Overcome Your Negative Self Talk and Learn How To Get and Stay Fit

We all have some kind of obstacle 

That keeps us from being our best. For most of us, that obstacle is your mind, your fear of failure or not believing in yourself. Yes, being a mom certainly places limitations on our time to workout or do anything for ourselves, but taking care of YOU is highly important to your individual happiness, and happiness in your mom role. 

I know the feeling…it can be intimidating to start something new. All the same old thoughts creep into your mind….what if you give up on yourself again? What if you don’t follow through? Are you really ready? Can I do this? (spoiler alert…yes you can do this!!!) 

These negative thoughts only keep you from STARTING and are the exact things that hold you back from your goals.

That’s why I’m here! I want to help you get over these mental hurdles and guide you every step of the way to ensure you make progress toward your goals.

As a mom and certified pre/postnatal trainer, I understand what it’s like to be pregnant while working out, getting back into fitness after delivery and the creativeness needed to maintain a workout routine with kids. I know your needs change throughout your pregnancy and motherhood journey and my experience and knowledge in this area will show you the path in a safe, effective and comfortable way. I’ve been there, mama and I’ve got your back! 

Often times we stop or don’t even start because we’re unsure of what to do, the outcome, or how to adapt to changes that occur on our path.

What if you could start knowing you will succeed? Having a coach will increase your success by 95%, those are good odds! Even if you’re a motivated person, directing that motivation and having someone who’s an expert in the field in which you want to succeed can be a game changer. Completing a fitness program changes so much more than your body–you improve confidence and willpower that has positive ripple effects in your whole life. So I guess you could say that exercise improves your life :o) 

Why the 30 Day Body Boost Program?
TThis is a 1-1 coaching program was developed off of proven systems that work. I’ve tried it myself, others have seen success, too. What’s different with this program? You have a coach (me!) who is 100% dedicated to your success. Success rates soar when you have a coach and someone to keep you accountable. This isn’t a program you buy and then try to figure it out on your own.

All you need is 30 minutes or less to workout. 

Easy to follow workouts designed to fit your time schedule. Gym or at home, equipment or no equipment. Seriously, I will make it happen and you can do this will literally no workout equipment. 

Easy to make recipes. 

Daily check-ins and support. 

You can do this. 

Count on me to keep you accountable. 

I will give you the knowledge and tools you need.

START TODAY!  Secure your spot today! 

xoxo,
Susanne

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Moms need strong glutes and flexible hips. Here’s how to get them.

Tight hips and weak glutes aren’t doing anyone any favors. Extended periods of sitting shortens the hip-flexors and weakens the glute muscles which negatively impacts hip mobility. Lack of hip flexibility and mobility leads to compensatory movement patterns that can lead to injury. When I haven’t been consistent with my stretching I can really tell a difference. My hips get tight, it hurts, and it affects my lifting. So I’m focusing on stretching more and making it part of my routine so I don’t have those problems.

I’ve got the glute strength training thing down (so yay!) which is also important for overall stability. I’ve talked a lot about the importance of glute strength (for everyone, particularly pregnant/postpartum moms) –check previous blogs or the Guide to Glutes program that comes with the best glute band ever!

Here are a few reasons why you should build strong glutes:

  • Reduce lower back stress: Your glutes stabilize the pelvis and keep the integrity of movement in the hip joint. When they’re strong, your lower back doesn’t bear the brunt of your motion.
  • Increase athletic performance: If you want to be a stronger athlete, it’s time to start glute specific training (the thrust is a must!) Stronger glutes will improve your speed, agility, and jumping skills, and improve your squats.
  • Prevent knee pain/injury: Strong glutes keep the pelvis stable. When your pelvis isn’t stable, it puts a lot of pressure on your knees and ankles to compensate. So strong glutes can prevent knee pain or injury.

But should you train glutes during pregnancy? Are there benefits for pregnant/postpartum women? YES, YES!!!

The glute muscles should be a main focus throughout your pregnancy training and postpartum, too.

Why you want strong glutes during/after pregnancy:

  • Support your lower back and give you stability through this area.
  • Help align your pelvis into a good position for baby’s development. Also great for when it’s time to deliver.
  • Decrease back pain. Your growing belly is putting A LOT of pressure on your pelvis and can change your posture causing back pain. You can correct this with stronger glutes.
  • Once you deliver your core will feel unstable for awhile (disconnected, like jello are some other descriptors I’ve heard) and strong glutes help stabilize you.

Ok so now that you know why you need strong glutes, here are some stretches to make sure your hips stay flexible and strong.

—SQUAT with knee push out (pictured-squat low and use your elbows to push your knees outward for maximum stretch) 

—PIGEON

—SUPINE FIGURE 4

—FROG (awkward looking AF)

Right now I’m shooting for at least 3 days a week of hip stretches. Maybe I’ll do more, but starting with a target that I know I’ll be able to stick to will increase the likelihood I’ll actually do it and then feel accomplished for doing it not bad for not doing it.

I encourage you to start a glute strengthening and hip flexibility program! Check out Guide to Glutes and start doing the stretches I listed above. Start this week!

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